Terminated nurse at Children’s Hospital in New Orleans exposes disastrous workplace conditions

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Registered nurse Morgan Flynn prepares to enter a patient’s room in the COVID-19 Intensive Care Unit at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, in Lebanon, N.H., Monday, Jan. 3, 2022. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)

An anonymous nurse at Children’s Hospital in New Orleans posted an exposure of the hospital’s unsafe working conditions on social media last month. Barely 24 hours after making the original post, which received over 100 comments, the nurse made a second post reporting that they had been “terminated effective immediately.

The original post said that workers have “tried for months to address” the issue of patient surgical safety “with upper management, and today they made it clear it’s their way or the highway.” Before going into the details of the meeting with management, the nurse outlined 10 of “the current issues at hand.”

They include:

  • “The surgery department currently has 60% open FULL TIME RN POSITIONS.”

  • “Nurses work 5 scheduled days, and guaranteed to be brought in for Saturday call add-on cases for minimum 4 hours.”

  • “Between Jan 2022 and Sept 2022, we’re looking at 8 experienced nurses either leaving permanently or going on leave, and there are only 3 new grads starting end of the summer.”

  • “Experienced nurses with 2+ years experience are getting ready to leave or travel, there are some instances where nurses in orientation were placed with people who were only 2-3 months out of their 3-month long orientation.”

The nurse added, “To give you an idea of how bad staffing is, we had a day where we were scrambling to find staffing because we only had 8 available nurses to start 11 scheduled rooms [and] 1 trauma coverage.”

Topping the list of “Children’s safety concerns” published in the nurse’s second post is “Improper Staffing.” Other concerns included in that post include:

  • “20 (21-1 board runner) current staff to run up to 12 operating rooms during the day, possibly up to 4 at night when calling in surgical director. In Sept[ember], it will be approximately 13 nurses to cover 12 rooms.”

  • “Members assigned to call are being overworked. 40+ [hour] work week during the week due to staying for surgeries that run past 7pm. Callbacks for emergent cases. If it’s your assigned weekend, guaranteed minimum 4 hour stay due to scheduled add ons. Some members on call are running 17-18 hour days.”

  • “Even 6/8 [June 8], a transplant coordinator, former pacu [postanesthesia care unit] nurse, was pulled to circulate a OMFS [oral and maxillofacial surgery] case when she had no current, recent, formal training to do so.”

  • Multiple issues with “Improper training,” such as “Trainee nurses were tasked to circulate their own rooms as early as 2 months into orientation.”

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